The basic premise of The Woman in the Fifth is that Ethan Hawke is playing an American writer who moves to Paris and strikes up a romance with a mysterious widow played by Kristin Scott Thomas. After hearing this you probably immediately get visions of the two actors sipping espressos at street side cafes, browsing for books at kiosks set up along the Seine, you know… doing Parisy-type stuff. But The Woman in the Fifth isn’t that sort of movie at all. It’s much darker, and more disturbing. How do I know? Because in the film’s new trailer there’s all sorts of spooky music and Ethan Hawke is talking in Christian Bale’s Batman voice. That’s how.
Director Pawel Pawlikowski’s new thriller involves organized crime, murder, double-crossings, and basically everything that makes movies cool. Unlike a film like, say, Midnight in Paris, the Paris-set scenery here is just the icing on the cake, not the whole point of the film. No, the focus of this film seems to be on shadows, tension, and the razor’s edge that is living a life of passion. The Woman in the Fifth seems to work under the classic noir assumption that making one morally compromised decision will lead to a downward spiral of danger and despair. Which sucks for the protagonist, but is usually wickedly fun to watch for the viewer.
The film doesn’t come out until June 15, but you can get a taste of Hawke losing his shit by watching the trailer right here.